Representation Construction to Support Conceptual Change

Authored by: Russell Tytler , Vaughan Prain

International Handbook of Research on Conceptual Change

Print publication date:  June  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415898829
eBook ISBN: 9780203154472
Adobe ISBN: 9781136578212


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Despite extensive contributions to this field over the past 20 years, the fundamental issue of identifying and enacting effective instructional processes to achieve student mastery of concepts remains an ongoing concern in science education research (Taber, 2011; Treagust & Duit, 2008; Tytler & Prain, 2010; Vosniadou, 2008b). This pedagogical challenge persists for various reasons. Recent claims about the formation of concepts and the nature of conceptual learning from (a) cognitive science perspectives (diSessa, 2008) and (b) semiotic and discursive frameworks (Jewitt, 2008; Lemke, 2004; Mercer, 2008; Prain & Tytler, 2012; Tobin, 2008) challenge past accounts of causal mechanisms for this learning. Further, a growing range of contextual factors and cognitive/affective processes has been identified as influencing student learning generally, and science in particular (Barsalou, 2008; Jakobson & Wickman, 2008; Klein, 2006; Wells, 2008). At the same time, science learning outcomes based on conceptual change approaches continue to fall short of systemic expectations (Duit, 2009), suggesting the need for new, or modified, or more widely adapted successful classroom practices.

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